Not Like It Counts Though

I’m pretty fucking angry right now.

Today I was explaining to someone that I had worked throughout the pandemic. I was asked if I worked retail. No… I was asked if I worked in healthcare, specifically the first question was if I was a nurse. No… I explained I was a support worker. Oh like a carer… well, kind of… and at that point, because my work comes out of the social care budgets, because I’m not working in a hospital, that was the point that I was told it didn’t count.

I was still risking my sodding life, and that is what it felt like right at the beginning, going out of the house that everyone had been told to stay inside, without knowing for the first few months how the damned thing was being spread. Knowing that I was only just not vulnerable, and that was sodding stressful, I genuinely thought I might die and honestly given the information we had, I wasn’t being totally off the wall in thinking that.

My sodding sister asked if I could just stay home and stop doing my job. Well I didn’t feel like I could because then what would the people I was supporting have done?!

But no, it doesn’t count, what I was doing, because I work in what’s accounted as unskilled, because it’s not healthcare, because it’s fucking invisible labour – like the sodding retail workers who were far worse off than I because at least I qualified for PPE. Eventually, when they worked out we needed it.

Yeah I get that I wasn’t a nurse, I wasn’t working in a red COVID ward, but the thing is, there were loads of us out in the middle of the pandemic breathing on and touching other people because of our jobs and right at the beginning when no one knew what was touching it it genuinely felt like we might die. And that wasn’t some panic stricken reaction. Hell I was still kind of assuming I might die at any day early on last year when Russia invaded Ukraine, it’s still in the back of my brain, might die better grab what we can whilst we can.

But no, I’m back to being invisible again, it doesn’t count, my fears and anxieties were over the top or misplaced, after all, I didn’t die now did I?

Sure, but so many did. I just got lucky.

This is what it’s going to be like though, we’ll get forgotten, that we went out and helped and kept on keeping on whilst genuinely feeling at risk of our lives, and honestly, whilst genuinely being at risk of our lives. But no, we don’t fucking count.

We bloody did though.

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